The government’s plans surrounding the reallocation of road space have been called into question by key bodies in the transport and logistics sector.
Speaking about the government’s announcements in July, Natalie Chapman, head of urban policy at Logistics UK stated: “The government’s plans present an opportunity to make cycling a more attractive option for private road users.”
However, she urged the government to make sure these plans are “implemented with consideration to the needs of the logistics sector.”
This stance has been backed up by the Road Haulage Association (RHA) which has branded the plans as “fantasy”. Duncan Buchanan, RHA director of policy for England and Wales has accused the government of ignoring the “practical reality and economic consequences of hiving off road space for cyclists and pedestrians.”
He warns that the proposed changes will lead to greater congestion and delays to deliveries.
According to Buchanan: “People are forgetting that we need to move around – that our food comes on trucks, for example.”
He went on to suggest that the Covid-19 crisis is being used as a cover to push through “fantasy projects.”
Chapman stated that more thought needed to go into a post-coronavirus economic recovery plan: “Without deliveries, businesses in cities and towns will not receive the goods and services they need to trade and get back on their feet after the effects of the pandemic.”
She continued: “Any new road layouts must be planned very carefully and provide adequate access to roads and kerbsides for logistics vehicles.”
The government wants us to get active and lose weight as part of its battle against the coronavirus. A key element of its ‘Better Healthy’ campaign is getting more people on bikes. However, as Buchanan points out, roads need to be managed with all users in mind – not just cyclists.